Archives for October 2009

Smoky Shrimp Chowder with Chicken Andouille

Hearty shrimp chowder with Cajun flavors
Hearty shrimp chowder with Cajun flavors

My son J is a third grader and doesn’t seem to be growing out of his picky-eater stage.

I’m always slightly embarrassed to admit that there are nights when I make the poor kid cry; he’ll come into the kitchen and ask what we’re having for dinner, and more than likely it’s not what he’s really hoping for: a Steak ‘n Shake cheeseburger or his all-time favorite home-cooked meal, Pasta Carbonara. That’s when his outraged tears flow and I feel like  throwing in my cooking towel.

I mean, I go to all the trouble to make family dinners from scratch and he breaks down and sobs as if he’s being tortured? I have to remind myself that this is a stage he will grow out of soon enough. How nice that there is already a hopeful sign that he’s well on the way to expanding his culinary horizons: the boy loves soup.

For some reason, he will happily devour most of the foods he detests if there are in the form of soup, so I’ve taken to hauling out the old tureen lately. It’s nice that the autumn weather is finally here –  hot soup is something we all like to eat on a busy weeknight. We’ve had versions of our favorite Roasted Sweet Potato Soup along with plain old chicken noodle.

I have to admit that he did pick the shrimp out of this chowder (more for us!)  but he lapped the remains of his bowl greedily.

Now I better start thinking about the next thing I can turn into soup before he catches on!

Smoky Shrimp Chowder with Chicken Andouille

Serving Size: 4 - 6 servings


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or butter
  • 1 leek, white and light green portions, sliced
  • 2 crushed garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 pound chicken andouille sausage, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon (or more to taste) Cajun seasoning blend
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 3/4 pound diced potatoes
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • Fine sea salt, cayenne and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Heat the oil or butter in a large pot or heavy saucepan. Add the leeks and garlic and cook over medium-low heat until softened, stirring occasionally. Stir in the thyme, andouille and Cajun seasoning and cook until sausage is seared on all sides.
  2. Pour in the chicken stock and bring to a boil; add the potatoes and slightly cover the pot. Cook until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.
  3. When the potatoes are done, pour in milk and bring to a gentle simmer; if it gets too thick add more stock or water.
  4. Add the shrimp and cook until they turn pink.
  5. Taste the chowder for seasoning and add salt, black or cayenne pepper to taste.